Category Archives: Business

You’ve been planning and working on that home remodelling project for months.

Painters, electricians and plumbers were hired and you have already bought your new pieces of furniture. But, who will assemble the furniture?

Furniture assembly is a quite complicated job and if wrongly assembled, it can pose a huge danger. Therefore, the only solution left is to hire a furniture assembly company. And, here are some reasons why these professionals are worth your time and money.

#1. Saves Precious Time

stool assembly | Stool components being assembled during a w… | Flickr

At first glance, furniture assembly might seem as though it will only take a short amount of time. That’s until you open the disassembled furniture.

I don’t know why, but people often grossly underestimate the amount of time they will need to assemble a piece of furniture fully. And the result: they can spend nearly the whole day learning about how to assemble a piece of furniture from the installation guide but still unable to do it properly.

Now, honestly speaking (and logically also), don’t you think it’s more beneficial to hire someone who can assemble your furniture within two hours rather than wasting your entire day (or sometimes even more than one day) on it?

If you really value your time (and we all know that time is money), you would offload the work to Best Furniture Assembly Pty Ltd, which can get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Plus, the longer you let that piece of furniture lie in any area of your house, the higher the chances of someone tripping over it and getting seriously injured in the process.

#2. They Have the Right Tools

Tools for furniture assembly | Another Saturday means more f… | Flickr

When was the last time you tried to assemble a piece of furniture? Do you remember wasting time just to look for the proper screwdriver?

One helpful rule of thumb when doing such works is to always use the right tool for the right purpose. For example, don’t tell me you are going to use a brick or washing brush to drive in a nail into furniture.

Therefore, if you don’t want to make several trips to the store to buy tools that you most probably won’t use again, it is better to trust an expert furniture assembly company that has the right tools and the proper know-how on how to use them.

#3. Experienced and Professional

05/11/2008 (Day 2.310) - Flatpack Furniture | Assembling a c… | Flickr

As a homeowner, when you are buying a piece of furniture, you hope that it will last a lifetime. But, to make sure that it does last for a lifetime, it is crucial to assemble it correctly from the beginning itself.

But, have you ever fixed a piece of furniture before? Well, if your answer is a flat no, we both know what could be the consequence. As an inexperienced assembler, you can either miss some important pieces or not fasten something tight enough.

This is why nothing beats experience when it comes to furniture assembly. These professionals deal with this type of work every day and from beds to chairs, they have set up numerous types of furniture. And, even the most complicated one is just like a breeze for them.

#4. They Provide Insurance

Simulator, Calculation, Insurance, Finance, Accounting

This is the one benefit that you don’t usually get when you are assembling the furniture yourself. But when some companies provide you with a liability insurance, you will have a peace of mind knowing that your work will be done correctly and is covered by insurance.

#5. Less Chance of Damage

File:South Coast Plaza earthquake damage in 2008.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

How many times have you accidentally drop pieces or hit walls while trying to move a furniture? Countless times, isn’t it?

Now, imagine what can happen if you decide to take things in hand and assemble that brand new piece of furniture. If I could predict, I would say, catastrophe!

#6. They Will Clean up the Mess

Vacuuming, Vacuuming, Cleaning, Carpet

It’s completely normal that where drills and screws are involved, there will be sawdust and other debris. However, there are many professional furniture assembly companies that clean up the mess that they have made. Spare parts will end up in your hands and there won’t be any garbage left.

Think you might need a furniture assembler after all? Well, contact Best Furniture Assembly Pty Ltd and let them know how you can use an extra hand.

E-commerce platforms offer unlimited opportunities for small to midsize businesses to increase sales, but they are also prime targets for cybercrime and online fraud, due to their lower probability of having robust online security in place to protect customers’ payment data. Unlike major corporations who enjoy the luxury of having their own in-house IT security providers or consultants, most small and midsize e-commerces are bootstrapping their businesses on limited budgets. To make matters worse, recent studies have shown that hackers are migrating to the new automation malware trend. By automating their threat software, cybercriminals can target large swaths of e-commerces rather than attacking them one at a time.

In this article, we will look at five steps you can take to secure your e-commerce website. Starting with a classic suggestion:

Promote Good Password Hygiene

While passwords are experiencing competition from technologies such as facial recognition and multifactor authentication (MFA), they’re still the standard access keys to most software. We need passwords for every service or website we log onto. For most users, it is common practice to use the same password for multiple services. The problem with this approach is that, once the reused usernames and passwords have been taken by hackers, they can be applied to various services, leading to widespread fraud.

If your sticking to passwords on your site for the time being, remember they should require a minimum number of characters (at least six, preferably eight to 10) and use numbers and symbols. It is also advisable to force users change their passwords regularly. And if you can afford it, look into investing in two-factor authentication (2FA) from users and customers. This can ensure that users don’t rehash potentially compromised credentials, and it goes a long way towards making sure that those requesting access are who they say they are.

Use HTTPS

HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the online protocol for secure communications over the internet and one of the easiest ways to help secure your e-commerce website from fraud. Designated by a closed green lock icon on the browser address bar, HTTPS websites are deemed authentic and secure because they’re certified. This means the website really is what it’s claiming to be and not a counterfeit website placed online to fool users so that bad guys can grab access credentials, credit card data, and more.

To enable HTTPS, you will need to acquire a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. Receiving an SSL certificate is the first step, this now needs to be implemented carefully in your e-commerce solution. Certain web designing and hosting companies can handle this step for you.

The advantages of using HTTPS go beyond security and trustworthiness. Google gives secure HTTPS websites a higher search ranking, leading to more visitors. Conversely, Google also labels unencrypted websites as “not secure,” which makes them appear sketchy and unsafe. These days, there’s few faster ways to get a potential customer to skip your website than to not have HTTPS

Choose a Secure E-Commerce Platform

E-commerce platforms are usually picked for their storefront-building convenience, range of design, and functionality, but security features need to be top of mind, too. Look for proven e-commerce solutions that provide encrypted payment gateways, SSL certificates, and solid authentication protocols for sellers and buyers, like Linkeo Ltd.

Don’t Store Sensitive User Data

Consumer privacy is critical in e-commerce. Businesses need customer data to improve their communications and product offerings as well as make it easy to return purchases. The danger is that website hacking, phishing, and other cyberattacks target this user data.

The first rule is to only collect data that’s useful for the purposes of fulfilling the transaction. Businesses should avoid the temptation of collecting more customer data than is absolutely necessary. This applies specifically to customer credit card information. There’s no need to store them on online servers, which can be a violation of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which serves to enforce consumer data protection in the payment card industry.

Cybercriminals and hackers can’t steal what isn’t there, so keeping the valuable personal and financial information of your users should be kept secure and off of online servers. If you have to store certain data, then make sure it’s protected in a safe, online storage repository that observes best practices when it comes to keeping information safe. This should include having stringent access controls, regular audits, and, most importantly, total data encryption.

Maintain a Security-Focused Mindset

E-commerce security is never a one-and-done deal. Threats and hacking methodologies evolve at an alarming rate, and maintaining an awareness and a security-focused mindset is the necessary preventive method. Once your e-commerce website’s security has been compromised, it is often too late. All a business can do at that point is costly and embarrassing damage control.

The real challenge for all businesses is effectively implementing e-commerce authentication and security measures in a frictionless manner so the customer experience is not impacted—and then staying on top of evolving threats without breaking the budget on security.

If you want to know more about these issues, feel free to drop us a comment below and let us know what topics you would like us to cover.

As an e-commerce, it’s almost a given that the bulk of your clients will be making payments online. Ensuring you have a working knowledge of how the payment process works is therefore vital. In this article, we will therefore be looking at a few key topics, namely: how the online payment process works, which parties need to be involved, and how much it will cost to take online payments.

The Basics

In essence, online payments work in much the same way as face-to-face payments, with a few added steps. There are a minimum of six parties involved with all online payments. The first is obviously your customer, and the second is yourself.

The ‘middlemen’, as it were, include: A payment ‘gateway’, which is a piece of software that sits behind your online shop. The gateway handles the online transaction, and then securely sends your customer’s payment information to your payment processing company who, as the name implies, handles all payment processing on your behalf. In most cases this will be your bank, although there are numerous third-party that also offer this service. You will also need to deal with the payment network which the customer’s card is linked to, e.g. Visa or PayPal. This network acts as the go-between for the customer’s and your bank.

Let’s now look at a typical online payment journey:

  1. The customer enters their payment information (e.g. debit card or PayPal details) into an online checkout form, so they can pay for something.

  2. The payment gateway securely sends that data to the payment processing company.

  3. The payment processing company then sends that data to the card scheme.

  4. The card scheme checks with the customer’s bank to see if they have enough money to make the purchase, and that the card isn’t blocked.

  5. If the payment is accepted, the money is taken from the customer’s bank account and held by the merchant’s payment processing company.

  6. The payment gateway confirms the sale to both the customer and the merchant.

  7. At the end of each trading day, the payment processing company sends the money from all the merchant’s sales to their bank account.

  8. The money normally arrives in the merchant’s bank account within 2-3 working days.

  9. The payment processing company’s fees for each sale are added to the merchant statement and are billed at the end of the month. The merchant usually pays these fees by Direct Debit.

This last part leads us quite nicely to our next point:

What Charges are Involved in Online Payment Systems?

On top of costs for setting up your website (e.g. web development, web hosting, shopping cart software and plugins), you’ll also have fees for taking payments online. The cost of taking payments online depends on several factors, including: the volume of transactions, the kinds of transactions you’ll be processing, gateway fees, and the fees your payment processing company charges. The fees and considerations generally come under the following categories:

Contract length and type: The length and type of your contract can vary. Make sure you factor in both costs as well as contract length when you’re choosing a gateway supplier.

Set-up fees: Usually a flat, one-time fee to cover the costs of setting up a new merchant account.

Gateway fees: Usually a fixed, monthly fee; plus a per-transaction fee, which might be fixed or variable. These come from your gateway provider.

Transaction fees: Also known as ‘Merchant Service Charges’, these come from your payment processing company. Each time you take a payment, you get charged a small percentage of the payment’s value. These charges can vary depending on the type of transaction (e.g. debit cards generally cost less to process than credit cards) and the volumes of transactions (higher volumes can get you cheaper rates). Transaction fees normally cover the ‘interchange fee’ that an acquirer pays for using the payment scheme’s network. You’ll also be charged a transaction fee for each refund.

Other fees: May include fees for things like: disputed cardholder transactions (also known as a chargeback), security fees, or early cancellation fees and solution modules (such as extra fraud checkers)

We hope the information in this article has proven useful in helping you understand the basics of online payment processing and what it means for your business. Here at Linkeo Ltd, we can assist you with setting up robust and easy-to-navigate payment portals as part of our web-building and hosting services. Feel free to get in touch if you have any further queries. And if you have anything you’d like to share, feel free to leave us a comment below.

Have you ever wondered why do some homeowners refinance and others do a loan modification? There might be a lot of reasons driving their decisions. In this article, we identify some of the key differences between a loan modification and a mortgage refinance. They both can be beneficial to someone with a high mortgage payment, and so they need help with one of the two options to lower their mortgage payment. They have similarities and differences alike. Let’s check them out!

A refinance simply completing the process of acquiring a new loan for financing your current mortgage. When you do a refinance, you will have to run your credit to meet the minimum requirements to be eligible for the new mortgage loan you are requesting. You will have to provide proof of employment, meet a minimum income requirement, have a good payment history, in addition to other conditions. When you refinance, you are paying off your old loan with a new loan and starting over again. You can take out equity in the property or leave it in. You can often do a 15yr or 30yr mortgage. You might want to do a refinance with a cashout and pay off another high-interest loan such as a credit card, revolving store card, other loans, finance college, buy a new car, among other things. When doing a refinance, your credit score and payment history will be weighed heavily in the final determination to grant you credit or deny you.

Most refinance will take anywhere from about 2-4 weeks to complete, and your old mortgage lender will be paid off. Homeowners will often refinance when the interest rate is at least one percentage point lower than they are currently paying. It’s good to refinance if you intend to stay in the home for at least another 5yrs. The reason why it’s not a good idea to refinance if you don’t plan on staying in the property for at least five more years is due to the fees and closing costs associated with doing a refinance. It is like getting a new loan – in fact, that is exactly what you are doing.

A loan modification is similar to a refinance because it is actually lowering your mortgage interest rate to give you lower house payment. However, there are some key differences. A loan modification is not focused on your credit score or credit history as much, if at all. Some loan modifications don’t ever check your credit history, a small number of lenders do check, but your credit is not weighed much at all for granting you a loan modification. When you do a loan modification, you will rarely get charged anything, and if you do, they are minor changes that are rolled up in the mortgage balance, unlike a refinance. Many people that apply for a loan modification are often in deep trouble with their mortgage payments. They commonly have a poor credit history and will usually not qualify for a refinance.

Not to say a refinance is better than a loan modification, but many homeowners who do a loan modification do it as a last option. Homeowners who refinance do it because they choose, and they can try to use their good credit history to their advantage by getting a lower mortgage payment. Ironically, a refinance and a loan modification will often give you a much lower mortgage interest rate over your initial interest rate. Yet, the requirements for getting them can be so different. One of the disadvantages of a modification is not having a cash-out option whenever the homeowner does it; With a refinance, a cash-out possibility exists. Once the loan is modified, the loan will start over again, with good credit reporting showing up with the credit bureaus.

So you are having to pay the closing cost that will take a few years to recover from before you actually start seeing some actual savings. You will not need to refinance if you are not going to get a lower interest rate of at least 1 point. It would not be worth it in the short term. If you need to cash out without refinancing or selling the property, you might want to consider a Home Equity Line Of Credit(HELOC). It’s like a kind of revolving credit that your home serves as collateral for that loan. You can get access to the funds all at once or over some time. So keep in mind that it is not so much whether you did a loan modification or a refinance because the results are often very similar. The key is to get your mortgage payment lower. Get in touch with the professionals at DLC ESTATE MORTGAGES for all your mortgage needs in

 

Reports are documents designed to record and convey information to the reader. They are usually part of any business or organization – from credit reports to police reports and they serve to document specific information for specific audiences, goals, or functions. So, today we will learn more about business reports.

What Are Business Reports?

Reports are often analytical or involve the rational analysis of information. Sometimes they simply “report the facts” with no analysis at all, but still need to communicate the information in a clear and concise format. However, some reports summarize past events, present current data and forecast future trends.

While a report may have conclusions, propositions, or even a call to action, the demonstration of the analysis is the primary function. For example, a sales report is not designed to make an individual sale. It is, however, supposed to report sales to date and may forecast future sales based on previous trends.

Hence, business reports refer to a type of assignment in which you analyze a situation (either a real problem or a case study) and apply business theories to produce a range of suggestions for improvement. It can also be defined as an impartial, objective, planned presentation of facts to one or more persons for a specific business purpose.

Purpose of a Business Report:

A business report has several purposes such as:

  • Examine available and potential solutions to a problem, situation, or issue.
  • Apply business and management theory to a practical situation.
  • Demonstrate your analytical, reasoning, and evaluation skills in identifying and weighing up possible solutions and outcomes.
  • Reach conclusions about a problem or issue.
  • Provide recommendations for future action.
  • Show concise and clear communication skills.

Classification of Reports:

Glasses, Magnifying, Analyzing, Magnification, Lens

  • Formal reports: These are carefully structured reports that stress objectivity and organization, consisting of much detail. In addition, they are written in a style that tends to eliminate elements like personal pronouns.
  • Informal reports: They are usually short messages with natural and casual use of language. For example, the internal memorandum can be described as an informal report.
  • Regular and Routine Reports: These are reports that are written regularly. They include sales reports, maintenance reports, financial reports, progress reports, health and safety reports etc.
  • Occasional Reports: These are reports that are produced to deal with particular incidences that may happen in a job. They include accident reports and disciplinary reports.
  • Specially commissioned reports: These are reports that are written for special purposes and for a particular review. These include market research reports, personnel reports, policy reports, investigatory reports and market forecasting reports.

Business Report Structure

Free CC0 photo of business reports on Stocksnap.io

Business reports usually adopt the following style:

  • Introduction
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations

Introduction

This is the first section of the report and is the easiest to write. The purpose of the introduction is to:

  • State the purpose or aim of the report, which may include who has asked for it.
  • Provide background details relevant to the situation, such as a brief overview of historical developments.
  • Summaries the problems and recommended solutions.
  • Clarify any limitations, restrictions, and assumptions made.

Discussion

The discussion section is generally the only section where you are able to support your analysis and reasoning with ideas and, concepts available within the course. Moreover, it is the only place where you can actually provide evidence to back up your conclusions and recommendations. As a result, evidence must be drawn from the literature, course materials, as well as your own observations from the actual case or organization.

Conclusion

  • Arrange each point in order of importance, rather than necessarily in the order found in your discussion.
  • Match each point in sequence with the list of recommendations.
  • Each point provides a summary of one of the problems outlined in detail in the report.
  • Ensure each point links with the report’s objectives.
  • Write each conclusion in the present tense.
  • Each point needs to be specific and clear.

Recommendations

  • Each recommendation should appear in sequence with the order of points in the list of conclusions.
  • Each proposal should provide a response to each problem identified in the list of findings.
  • Each proposal should be action-oriented, concise, and clear.
  • Each proposal should also be realistic and feasible within the social, economic, and political climate.

What do you think about business reports? Please share your comments!

 

 

I read a statistic recently that said 90 percent of new online businesses fail in the first four months. Four months! The reasons for this? There are many. Having spoken to the experts at Linkeo Ltd recently, here are the top 7 reasons people seem to fail at starting their own online business, and how you can overcome each one.

Lack of commitment

You talk about how much you want to start your own business with your family or friends, but you never really commit to getting started. You keep waiting for the ‘right time’ or continue to ‘think about it’ without ever getting started. The solution to this one is quite simple: decide to do it and commit to doing it.

Poor planning

You finally get started but you didn’t plan well enough for the financial, emotional, mental and physical implications. You didn’t save enough money, you didn’t do enough research. As a result, you run out of money and ideas very quickly with no plan of how to get yourself back on track. Dealing with this issue boils down to planning ahead and doing your research. Connect with other entrepreneurs in the same field and ask them for advice.

Lack of action

You simply don’t take enough (or any) action. Or if you do, because you’re new at business your actions aren’t properly aligned to your business so you waste a lot of time. What you should be doing is taking consistent action that is aligned with your business. Who is your ideal client? Where can you find them? What problem are you trying to solve for them? How can you monetize what you are doing?

Not having an idea who you are marketing to

Feeding off the point about lack of action, if you don’t know who your target clients are, or where to find them, setting up a shiny new website, Facebook page and business cards won’t solve your complete baffled as to why new customers aren’t queuing up out the door (so to speak)). Solving this issue is not that complicated however. You simply need to get clear on who you want to help before you do anything else. Choose your audience, research it and promote yourself accordingly.

No Marketing Skills

If you have no idea about copy, SEO or sales, no matter how fantastic you are at what you do, you won’t be able to sell yourself, and you’ll get very little business. So either learn sales, or partner with people who do. You’ll soon find that marketing and promotions will attract clients to you. Sales is all about matching their problem with a solution. Your solution.

Trying to do it all alone

You decide not to enlist the help of professionals and instead try to figure out everything on your own. You spend hours each week on non-money making tasks, such as fixing annoying tech issues with your website or mailing list. You end up scared, overwhelmed and lost, and frustrated at your lack of results. Don’t be afraid to seek professional advice and support with anything you are struggling with. Sure, money can be tight when you’re in your first year of business, but you can still shop around. Just get started with some sort of support and upgrade things as you can afford to.

Comparison to others

Looking at what everyone else is doing and getting overwhelmed by their results can spell new online business disaster. Comparison crushes your creativity and feeds self-doubt, worry and concern. In the words of that famous Disney song, let it go. Avoid getting caught up in the hype of others peoples success and results. Everyone is on their own path, stay focused on your own journey and keep yourself moving forward step by step.

Being an entrepreneur is tough, mentally and emotionally, especially when the results in the first year are often inconsistent. But you can do it. Learn from your mistakes, try new approaches, and most importantly keep showing up. Sometimes obstacles can slow your progress (sometimes a whole lot at once can really throw you off track) but you’ve just got to deal with each one as it arises, keep coming back and showing up. You can do it. You can make your new online business a success.

As we all know, there are numerous ways that you can spend time and effort trying to promote and grow your online business. However, for more small e-commerces, trying out every method at the same time is a guaranteed waste of resources. After all, it’s hard to do anything really well when you’ve spread yourself too thin.

Instead, you should pick a few methods to focus on at the beginning, then gradually work your way down the list, eliminating the methods that aren’t producing results, and finessing the ones that are proving to drive your sales figures. The question is, where should you start?

In this series of articles, we’ll be exploring various means of promoting an online store, as recommended by the experts at Linkeo Ltd., starting with:

How to Promote a New Online Store with Content Marketing

When it comes to online store success stories, you’ll find that content marketing has the biggest impact, since it gives you the chance to explain what sets you apart from your competition. Also publishing regularly builds a body of content that fuels a stronger social media presence as well. How? Well, producing free, valuable content creates trust in your brand, keeps people informed, and helps you rank in search engines. You’ll see the power of content marketing via social shares, increased visibility in search engines, and increased traffic.

Here are a few tactics you should start with:

Publish More Than Just Blog Posts

While running a blog is one of the best ways to create a loyal fanbase and build your brand awareness, you can and should take it further. Consider producing and giving away valuable and in-depth content pieces like e-books and courses. Another underrated, yet valuable promotion mediums is to create high-quality video content that shows what a certain product does and how it benefits its users. And once you’ve published the video, promote it heavily on social media.

Don’t Neglect SEO

Combining content marketing and SEO is particularly effective when you’re marketing a product that has high search volume for generic terms (e.g. “wedding invitations”).

Here are a few strategies with a proven track record of driving traffic with content and SEO:

Foundational Content: Many customers that come to your site are in the very early stages of the buying process and may need further education on the product or how to use it. Having good foundational content will lead to better time on site and better engagement is one of the signals used by search engines to validate keyword accuracy.

Remarketing: This works like a charm if you have a blog that is geared towards the early-stage researcher. When someone visits your blog, you can track them using remarketing cookies, then serve specific content and messages to them over the following weeks as they browse the web and social. Remarketing is much cheaper than buying the acquisition and offers a return on investment to a factor of 8 – 15 times more.

Outreach: Outreach using content marketing is all about creating brand awareness. If we take the wedding card example from before, contact all the major wedding blogs and magazines with fresh content you’ve produced. Often, sending unsolicited content works, but at other times you need to go further. For example, if you’re contacting a major outlet, you may need to tailor your content to their creative direction.

Rich Snippets: Rich snippets allow search engines to better understand what information is contained on each web page. However, many miss the content marketing opportunity of using snippets. You need to include a clear, concise description of a product, not a keyword-laden signal to the search engines.

Consider Paid Search for Short-Term Growth

It’s important to remember that while the tips above are proven to work, they are still medium to long-term solutions. You still need to create that initial boost, which is where paid advertising comes in. Consider getting Google Ads—Google Shopping ads and some display/video branding ads—set up for the new store immediately to help get the new business name out there.

Then, have these running while implementing ongoing SEO. This strategy will draw attention straight away while also laying the foundations for long-term organic growth. The added benefit of PPC advertising through search engines is that you can choose what specific keywords your ads—and therefore your content—display for.

We hope the information in this article has proven useful to you developing a marketing strategy for your new online store. Be sure to check back soon for the second part of this series.

User experience online is very similar to the user experience you get when going to a grocery store. You want a pleasant time without any hassle. You want to be able to navigate the store quickly, get what you need right away, head to the checkout line without a wait, and get back home.

It may seem a bit corny to think of UX design in terms of going to your local grocery store, but the experiences are similar. Our customers are visitors to the sites we create, and the groceries are the content in which they came to the site for. For those of us who go to the store, it’s easy for us to pinpoint things that irritate us or think should be improved. However, when it comes to our own designs and user interfaces and the creation of them, we may not be able to point out these irritants ahead of time before users do.

At Linkeo Ltd, we fix this by taking a step back and look for these weak points in our design, so that we don’t cause clients unnecessary frustration and keep visitors on our site so they can get to the content they were looking for.

Here are a few tips to follow:

DO: Provide a similar experience regardless of the device

Visitors are coming to your site using many different types of devices. They can visit your site on their desktop or laptop, tablet, phone, music player, game console, or even their watches. A big part of user experience design is ensuring that no matter how the visitor sees your site, they are getting the same experience they would if they were to visit from another device. A seamless experience across all of your devices helps keep your users on your site regardless of the device they are using.

DO: Provide instantly recognizable and easy-to-use navigation

The key to providing a pleasant user experience for users is to understand that they are in search of content. Provide a user-friendly navigation system that is easy to recognize and easy to use. Design your navigation in a way that gets visitors where they want to go with the least amount of clicks as possible while still being easy to scan and locate where they need to go.

DO: Make the most important thing on the screen the focal point

Users are more likely to quickly scan the screen than they are to read everything there. Therefore, if a visitor or user wants to find content or complete a task, they are going to scan until they find where they need to go. You can help them along by designing where they eyes should focus first, second, etc. (also known as visual hierarchy). Make the important things such as screen titles, login forms, navigation items, or other important content a focal point so visitors see it right away.

DO: Let the user control their browsing experience

When you design a website or user interface, you want to let the user control their browsing and movement through the site or application. It’s been known that things such as auto-play videos, taking away a user’s ability to scroll, music or sounds in the background, and opening links in new tabs/windows irritate users. These elements should be used sparingly and only when appropriate and expected.

DON’T: Letting the design of the site hinder the site’s readability

The design of a site or user interface should never interfere with the user’s ability to consume the content on the screen. This includes having busy backgrounds behind content or poor colour schemes that hinder the site’s readability. Focus on the typography of your site to ensure issues such as line length, line height, kerning, and font choice doesn’t pose issues for readability.

DON’T: Hindering a visitor’s ability to scan the screen

As I mentioned above, users and visitors alike often scan the screen quickly before settling in to read any one particular thing with focus. Users often scan for visual cues such as headings, pictures, buttons, and blocks to know where they should focus their attention. Using appropriate headings that are easily seen, pictures to illustrate points, buttons for navigation, and blocks of content that are unique or important help users scan the screen to find what they need.

DON’T: Fill the screen with non-related content

Going back to the grocery store example, if I’m looking for flour and sugar to bake with, I want to be able to go directly to the baking aisle and find those specific things. Users of your site or interface feel the same way. They want the content they came for without any other interference or distractions. If they are shopping for a t-shirt on your site’s store, they don’t want to see ads or recommendations to buy a new phone.

DON’T: Have several things compete for attention

Much like not filling your site with unrelated content, designing elements that have to fight for attention can also cause confusion and some nervousness in your users unnecessarily. Using visual hierarchy to design the user’s flow around the screen reduces the competitive feeling of different elements. Also, not having things pop up at users (i.e. modal boxes) and other things they have to close out to read your content keeps the focus on the content.

Conclusion

Standing back to take an honest look at your site’s user experience will help greatly reduce any possible frustrations or aggravations users may experience while looking through your site or application to find content or complete a task. With these do’s and don’ts, you can help your visitors out and provide a great user experience.

E-commerce has revolutionised the business world, with a lot of small businesses positively influenced by these changes. With the increased availability and accessibility of creating and implementing an e-commerce platform, large companies are no longer the only ones to enjoy the benefits of selling products online. Small businesses have found success online and these companies have been able to grow beyond their expectations. This article aims to show you how, with the help of the experts at Linkeo Ltd, you too can reap the rewards of an online sales platform.

Attracting a Larger Customer Base

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of e-commerce is how it expands your customer base. If you are a small brick-and-mortar store, you can’t really expect to generate customer numbers beyond what is locally possible. On the other hand, when you set up an e-commerce site, your customers are not bound by geography. You can sell to customers around the world. Even if you don’t want to get started with international shipping, you’ll still be able to sell to a broader audience within your country. The benefit for a small business comes from how the increased amount of sales is generated with little to no additional overhead cost.

Access to Commercial Platforms

In order to enjoy growth in sales, small businesses naturally have to be able to get the word out. You need to ensure the customer base is able to find you and your products online. When your business is small, your website might not always be attractive enough to generate enough visitors. But e-commerce doesn’t just happen on single websites – there are plenty of commercial platforms that are open to all, no matter what the size of the business, like Amazon or Etsy. Small businesses can also be on a level playing field on different shopping portals aimed at helping customers to save money.

Free or Cheaper Promotion

As a follow-on to the above point, e-commerce and the Internet have helped provide free or cheaper promotional options for small businesses. Traditional marketing costs always have small businesses at a disadvantage. The cost of advertising in the newspaper or TV has continued to increase and physical advertising elsewhere can cost thousands. The Internet, on the other hand, provides tons of routes on a much more level playing field.

If your business is not yet promoting itself on social media, then you need to get started immediately. Regular posting on sites like Twitter and Instagram can help drive up sales. The great thing about marketing online is how you can use the power of social media and get your customers to advertise for you. If you can get them to post about your business, you reach more people and you didn’t even have to do anything beyond providing a great service and product.

Not to mention how much easier it is to customise the marketing to suit your customers. If you have a wide customer base, you don’t need that one single ad to suit all – you can use different platforms and marketing methods to reach different segments and ensure your promotional material is always appealing to the person in question.

Better and More Personalised Service

E-commerce has also helped drive sales because of the customisation opportunities. This is especially good for small businesses. As you learn about your customers, you can start offering more personalised solutions. Customers of the modern era love to tweak their products and buy something that isn’t available for everyone else – uniqueness and personality are the big words of the decade, if not century.

Easier Way to Shop and Sell

Overall, e-commerce has made the process a lot easier. Not only can it be easier for you to sell as a small business online, but the customer also benefits from the simplicity and ease of shopping this way. The simplicity can help your small business, as customers tend to look for things online before venturing out in the shops. Therefore, if you can provide a niche service, the customer is likely to opt for the ease of online shopping instead of looking around.

If your business is not yet part of the e-commerce revolution, then hopefully the above points will convince you to join up. You’ll experience higher sales and improved growth as a result. Let us know if you have more questions in the comments below.

As a small or medium business owner, doing payroll is a necessity, but isn’t that much fun. You’re already extremely busy with running your business. You’ve got to oversee everything whilst managing your employees. Whether you’ve got 2 employees or 200, you need to get them paid on the regular. Not every business has the room to build up a bookkeeping and payroll team, which ends up in you, the business owner, paying out employees on your own. That’s why payroll companies, like Nexgen Accountants exist.

Choosing the right payroll service for your company can be quite difficult, which is why we’re going to help you today. We’re going to give you some great tips for choosing the perfect payroll company for your individual needs. Finding payroll companies isn’t difficult, they’re all over the internet. Choosing the right one for your company takes a little bit of research.

1. Figure Out What Your Needs Are

The first thing you should do is figure out exactly what you need. If you’re a small company, you might be able to get away with using a simple application that quickly does payroll for you like Patriot or Intuit.

If you need something a bit more involved, you should outsource your payroll efforts to a company that specialized in payroll. These services are a bit more personalized and you can build a relationship and grow with them.

2. Look at Ease of Use

The whole reason that you’re outsourcing payroll is that it’s time-consuming. The service that you choose should be easy to use. If it’s a payroll company, they shouldn’t ask too many questions because they should know what they’re doing. When you’re using an app, the interface should make sense and you should be able to easily add employees and input info in a few minutes.

3. Reputation

How do you find out if it’s going to be easy before signing up? Look at customer reviews online. There’s no better way to find out how easy and functional a payroll service will be than listening to previous customers. Read Google and Yelp reviews to find out what you’ll be dealing with.

Good reviews are important, but make sure that the company has been operating for a good amount of time and has the proper licenses.

4. Pricing

The other important thing to look at before trying out a payroll service is how much you’ll be paying. This is especially important for small businesses that don’t require as extensive service as larger companies.

First, find out if there are contracts involved. Most of the do-it-yourself apps operate on a monthly subscription service, but some of the companies will have you enter contracts. When this happens, find out how often you’re paying (per pay period or month) as it might have big implications on the total cost.

5. Self-Service

If you don’t want to be fielding all sorts of questions from your employees, you’ll want to ensure that the payroll company you choose has employee self-service. If your employees can log in to view their own payment and tax info, then they won’t need to ask you.

6. Trial Period

Choose a few different payroll companies and go through a trial period with each of them until you find one that works. Many of them will have cheap trial periods to attempt to win you over with good customer service and support.

You’ll know you’ve found the right service when it’s able to meet your needs for the right price, combined with exceptional customer service. Don’t overthink it!

Did you find this article helpful? Then come back and visit our blog for more awesome tips on how to run your small business.

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